The house is a flurry of activity and chaos. Me, athukar and dad are sorting out travel arrangements. Sarees are being chosen and rejected, ironed and packed and re-packed.
It’s Amma’s first visit to Singapore – her first solo trip abroad, first time in a flight and first tourist experience that doesn’t include a temple visit. She’s visibly excited, asking questions with a child-like curiosity and reassuring me with a “relax, I’ll be fine. I’ll call you as soon as I land”. The feeling of déjà vu is so palpable, I have to smile. I have similarly assured her a million times, even laughed at her fears and sometimes brushed her off with the supremely brash sense of invincibility that youth brings about.
I, meanwhile, have a million doubts in my head and butterflies in my tummy.
Will she be alright? Will she be able to step on and off the escalator properly? Will she get through immigration smoothly? Will she manage with her limited knowledge of English? Will she be picked up from the airport on time? Will my relatives hosting her ensure she takes care of her health? Will she have a good time?
I am issuing numerous instructions, both important and ridiculous (Did I just tell her, “don’t talk to strangers” ?), when she interrupts me with “ Don’t waste the cabbage on your plate. How will you be healthy if you don’t eat all vegetables? And don’t think you can go to bed without a glass of warm milk, young lady. ” …
All’s right with the world again…
P.S. UPDATE: She’s landed safely, and supremely proud of her solo trip 😛